Military authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh have denied violating a ceasefire following a casualties report issued by Azerbaijan on Thursday. A spokesman said Stepanakert remains committed to the agreed regime along the line of contact with Azerbaijani armed forces.
RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service quoted the country’s Defense Ministry as confirming that three Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and another soldier was wounded “after exchanging fire with Armenian armed forces near the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.” The Azerbaijani ministry did not specify where the fighting took place. Its spokesman said the Armenian side also suffered casualties.
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Friday, a Nagorno-Karabakh military spokesman advised “searching for the causes of the Azerbaijani soldiers’ deaths in the [low] morale of the Azerbaijani armed forces.” He also flatly denied casualties on the Armenian side.
“The information spread by Azerbaijan once again does not correspond to the reality,” said Senor Hasratian, a press secretary for Nagorno-Karabakh’s defense army.
Hasratian said the names of the soldiers published through the Azerbaijani media suggested him that they were not ethnic Azerbaijanis, which he claimed showed Baku’s “policies towards ethnic minorities.”
Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994 after nearly three years of fighting as a result of which Karabakh Armenian forces established control over the former, mostly Armenian-populated, region of Soviet Azerbaijan and also expanded to seven districts of Azerbaijan proper.
Skirmishes and shootings are not a rare occurrence along what now is the line of contact between the Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces despite the assurances of both sides that they remain committed to the ceasefire regime.